May 30, 2005

20: Beak Envy

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The illustrious Illustration Friday’s word of the week is envy.


In the North American bird community, there's a dumpy, small, basking-in-beige group of species categorized as shorebirds, including critters like sandpipers, plovers and what-not. One species that stands out is the American avocet, an elegant wader that thrives on small prairie sloughs. Avocets stand about a foot high on long pale-blue legs with a slender bill turned upwards at the end, brilliant black-and-white patterning and a slim cinnamon-coloured neck.

At work, I occasionally spot them on rides at lunch – usually stilt-walking through shallow water among the blander, smaller sandpipers, who I'm sure would feel envy if they could. They're like supermodels among workaday schmoes.

The avocet in this drawing has been exaggerated some, but not much. It began as a pencil sketch – more of a cartoon – and was brought into Photoshop for the colour work. The background effect was made possible through Photoshop brushes downloaded from the portfolio site of Pennsylvania designer Keith Bowman (check out his kickass site here).

11 comments:

Ms Elle said...

This is beautifully done. The colors are crisp and the lines are lovely.

Rebeccashane said...

I agree with Ms.Elle! this is great.. i also like the lines.

paula said...

It's amazing what ideas people conjure up for these topics! I like your "Beak Envy". Smart!

James said...

Oh this is spooky. You said it would be similar but, well...GET OUT OF MY HEAD!! Great stuff and you seem to know your birds. I've been a birder for years. Thus, you rock on many levels.

Keri said...

Beautiful! Love the colors.

Alina said...

Wow, that's gorgeous! The colors on both birds are great, and the watercolor-y background complements them so well. Good work!

devon said...

beak envy!! haha! noice jeope.

they are so expressive :)

Tulipland said...

haha this very nice and funny :) I like it :)really gorgeous!

shannon said...

WOW! I thought it was watercolor!

Stephanie said...

Wow, this is really pretty! :)

Allan L. said...

Y'done good, man. I love the smaller bird's expression.